Congratulations to all those who have maintained their new year’s resolutions for the past fortnight. It won’t last.

I give them another week, maybe two at best - unless your resolutions were to eat more, drink more or smoke more in 2018, in which case you’ll probably stick to them.

This pessimism isn’t just based on my own experience, where resolutions have been known to last half an hour, if that. It’s what I’ve noticed everywhere.

Years ago I worked at a newspaper office with two kitchens, one for smokers and one for non-smokers. The walls of the non-smokers’ kitchen were white, while those in the other were yellow, which surely must have been a strong incentive to quit. If that’s what cigarettes do to paintwork, what must they be doing to your insides?

During the first two weeks of January the non-smokers’ kitchen was always full of advertising staff on their mid-morning break. As the days passed, however, it became less and less busy - until by February they had all moved back to the yellow room.

I’m sure something similar can be observed in gyms, swimming pools and aerobics classes. To many of us the resolutions are something to be packed away along with the Christmas decorations, to be dusted off again next year.

And finding excuses to abandon them is always easy in January. There’s too much food and drink left in the house to resolve to improve your diet just yet. Or the streets are too icy to go running or cycle to work.

At times I’ll fantasise about leading a stress-free life by moving to the west of Ireland to keep chickens and write poetry. Then I read last month that bird flu is on the rise again - so I’ve ruled it out for now.

If you want to make resolutions you can keep, the general advice is to break them down into achievable goals and devise gradual steps towards them.

Instead of running five miles every morning, start by getting off the bus a stop early. If you want to eat better, reduce unhealthy food before trying to eliminate it.

Health experts advise drinkers to have at least two alcohol-free days per week. Once you’ve cracked that you can move it up to three, then four and then five. It’s something I’ve managed to do, kind of.

Or make resolutions it’s impossible to break. It’s more than 10 years since smoking was banned in enclosed public spaces, Then and there I decided to give up passive smoking and I’ve stuck to it ever since.

Decluttering your living space is an easy resolution for January, and by its nature doesn’t involve venturing outdoors. Identifying all the clothes, books, films and music you aren’t realistically going to wear, read, watch or listen to again, and taking them to a charity shop, brings the added benefit of knowing you’re helping a good cause.

There’s often a long gap between the pay days in December and January. So it can be a good time to resolve to rediscover the simple and inexpensive pleasures.

Wrap up well and go for a walk in one of Cumbria’s parks - national or otherwise - and you’ll observe the freshness of the winter air, the snowdrops pushing through, the daylight hours elongating a little. They’re all signs that spring is on the way, and a reminder that the best things in life are free.

We have a tendency to beat ourselves up about failing to maintain new year’s resolutions and accuse ourselves of a pathetic lack of willpower. But it’s not always easy, and failing once or twice is no reason to give up altogether. No matter how ingrained a bad habit is, it can still be changed. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

And we aren’t the only ones with bad habits to kick. A few well-chosen resolution from world leaders could benefit everyone

Donald Trump could resolve to stop wrecking the environment in 2018 and wean himself off his addiction to sending abusive tweets. Kim Jong-un could decide to stop showing off by testing missiles. And both men could get better haircuts.